• Reach Inward-Outward to those who have questions

    As Lutherans we are the “teaching” church, as we began with a campus pastor and teacher (university/seminary) in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther. We are a church where we wrestle with the questions  of faith. John Dominic Crossan is a n excellent source for those who wish to wrestle with the questions. He’s written many books, and one of his latest can be of great help: “How the Read the Bible and Still be a Christian.”

    How to read the Bible and still be a Christian

    For those already in the door, and those we invite inside, Crossan is a great resource. He challenges are held beliefs while still showing a way to still count yourself as a faithful Christian.


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  • Reaching Out: What We Can Learn from the Unconventional

    Feminist Lutheran Kara Johnston recently posted on Face Book about ELCA Lutheran Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, who serves in my former Synod (Rocky Mountain Synod):

    “Singing in the midst of evil is what it means to be disciples.
    Like Mary Magdalene, the reason we can stand and weep and listen for Jesus is because we, like Mary, are bearers of resurrection, we are made new. On the third day, Jesus rose again, and we do not need to be afraid. To sing to God amidst sorrow is to defiantly proclaim, like Mary Magdalene did to the apostles….that death is not the final word. once again, that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot, will not, shall not overcome it. And so, evil be damned, because even as we go to the grave, still we make our song alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.” Nadia Bolz-Weber from her book, Pastrix; the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

    Nadia-Bolz-Weber preaching

    Pastor Nadia’s ministry in Denver has been ground breaking and unorthodox. She’s reached the 20 – 40 somethings, the over 60’s, poor and rich in the tradition of the emerging church. She’s spoken to 10’s of thousands of Lutheran youth in the ELCA. Nadia doesn’t look and sound like most pastors (my Lutheran tattoos are temporary), but through her “course” language she speaks the Good News, an unlikely pastor to an unlikely people (outsiders and insiders).Pastrix-Nadia Bolz Weber

    We say we want to and will reach out to the outsiders and strangers. Nadia has done just that. I recommend we consider some of the lessons learned by Pastor Nadia and think how we might apply ourselves to welcome and invite those who are different, those who are not in most of our congregations, the 20’s to 40’s somethings, the outsiders, the least of these,the sinners and saints, etc. Check out one of her New York Times Bestselling Books – from 2013 “Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint”  (Warning – Explicit Language Content) or her 2015 “Accidental Saints, Finding God in All the Wrong People.” You can also check out her website: http://www.nadiabolzweber.com/

    Nadia Bolz-Weber Accidental Saints

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  • 3 Simple Steps of Invitation: Vision, Modeling and Cascading

    As your congregation approaches the Summer start thinking about inviting people to your church to experience the Good News (either during the Summer if you have some special events or beginning in the Fall). Check out this Logos You Tube Video by Michael Harvey and prepare to invite as you prepare to celebrate the Easter promise.




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  • Advent. An Opportunity for Invitation

    It’s a good time of year to invite people to join you for worship.

    The Season of Advent.

    What better time to either begin to develop or continue to work on the Culture of Invitation in your congregation (this means going beyond being a “welcoming” congregation).” Check out some or even all of this video from Michael Harvey.

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  • Cafe Church – Coffee with the Clergy

    I’ve spoken before about Coffee with the Clergy. I invite people from the congregation, and encourage them to invite a friend(s) to meet at a local coffee house that serves Fair Trade Coffee – the Biblical way to go. Coffee Culture is our place to meet but a 2nd Cup or your local coffee house works just as well. You can structure these gatherings for what best fits your congregation and community.

    I want to thank Pat Lovell for the information about Cafe Church Network. Check out their ideas and see what fits for your congregation & community. Here’s their website:




    Micah 6:8

    Pastor Mark

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  • It’s that Time of Year


    Now that we begin to see more people attending worship and as Sunday School programs begin for the Fall, here is a website that can be of help both within the parish and to visitors. Check out the variety of ideas and materials featured on this website.



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  • Back to Church Season of Invitation

    Spirit of InvitationIn the Eastern Synod and in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto churches have moved from a once a year, Back to Church Sunday, to a Back to Church SEASON OF INVITATION. You can download postcards (versions for both print and online social media posting) and posters, in PDF Format that allows you to change the wording to fill in your church name and worship time.



    “Postcard Sign” #5 may not allow word changes, depending on your Adobe version.

    I hope you will consider joining other churches in a Season of Invitation (significant worship services through the church year, to invite friends, family, neighbors, the whole community.

    Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.


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  • Back to Church planning for Fall 2015

    This is the time to start planning for your next Back to Church Sunday (Back to Church Season of Invitation) for Fall 2015. Which Sunday this the Fall will you encourage people to invite friends/family/neighbors/strangers to invite to your worship service? Who will you invite? Think about it, pray about, then invite someone!

    Im inviting you btcs

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  • Webinar May 19th 1pm – Evangelism & Immigrants/Migrants

    This opportunity is courtesy of Rev. Paul Gehrs
    ELCIC Assistant to the Bishop, Justice and Leadership

    Webinar immigrant evangelism

    Webinar: Evangelism and migrant — immigrant churches May 19, 1:00 pm (eastern) Panelists: Rev. Irene Ty, Dr. Girma Bekele, and Rev. Jonathan Schmidt of the Canadian Churches Forum   http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/world-council-of-churches-evangelism-webinars   This is one of 6 in a series of  World Council of Churches Webinars on Evangelism in the lead up to a North American Conference “Reclaiming Evangelism: Celebrating Change and Collaboration”   Participate in the live webinar on May 19, including an opportunity to be part of the dialogue, or watch a recording after May 19.   Jonathan Schmidt Director Canadian Churches Forum 47 Queen’s Park Crescent Toronto ON  M5S 2C3 416-924-9351     416-978-7821 (fax)   Follow us on Facebook director@ccforum.ca www.ccforum.ca

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  • Intergenerational Faith Formation


    Check out the Building Faith weblink below on 3 ideas for intergenerational faith formation [through the Summer or beginning in the Fall]. These models can be a draw for both existing parishioners and visitors.



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